Neither Rebecca Hofer nor Lisa Peter felt they had the leadership skills needed to lead a small group when they gathered together with ten ladies in their 20s and 30s in the fall of 2017. They knew the value of community, as a small group they both belonged to had grown to a point where three new small groups branched off. So they leaned into the task with a desire to build a fellowship of believing women based on FAC’s four faith pillars of Connect, Grow, Serve, and Share.
“Leading a small group can be overwhelming and I am certainly not qualified to lead anyone, but we trusted God with this group and everyone He has brought to it,” Rebecca states. “Having a co-leader is a big help to come up with ideas and balance the time commitment.”
Lisa agrees and is grateful for a church that supports its leaders.
“I never viewed myself as taking a leadership role within the church, but we were encouraged to take this next step.” she shares. “I value our church’s pastors and that they take an active role in developing the leaders of the next generation. They encourage us to become better disciples of Christ, and to take positive steps forward in our contributions to the Kingdom.”
The new leaders took advantage of the resources of the church. Many of their studies came from RightNow Media, alternating between topical learning and books of the Bible. Just this year they completed Francis Chan’s study on the book of James and Lisa Harper’s look into Solomon, and will end the year in a book study of River Dwellers by Dr. Rob Reimer (available through the FAC Library and Cornerstone Marketplace). And the girls are finding community is not only about growth through the study of God’s Word.
“Being a part of a small group not only helps us to connect with other Christians, dig deeper into the Word, and grow in our own personal relationships with God, “ Lisa explains. “We challenge one another and ‘live life together.’ Our connections become more authentic and genuine. It’s great having a community where we can rely on one another in tougher life moments.”
“We vary the studies with occasional social nights. We’ve done a prayer night, dedicated solely to lifting up each other and our communities,” says Rebecca.
And these dedicated ladies wanted to take their group a step further beyond connecting and growing; a step that took them out of the door of the church and into the city, away from their regular Tuesday night gathering.
“We recently volunteered with a non-profit organization called Made by Momma. They help families facing situations of adversity and crisis by providing healthy meals, baked goods, baby essentials, children’s items, supportive in-home visitors, and other services to allow mothers the time they need to rest, recover, and focus on their families and their health.” Lisa was thrilled with how their members pitched in to serve. “Our small group was able to help in their kitchen preparing meals. It was a good reminder of how we can directly become involved in our city, serving in God’s love and letting His hands work directly through us.”
“Serving brought us out of normal day-to-day and used our time to reach others – and I think doing it in community brought us closer together!” Rebecca adds. “It shows, too, how the four pillars are so interconnected – I think each one contributes to the success of the others!”
Lisa concurs. “We wanted to share God’s love with non-believers as we serve in our community. As we serve, the organizations and their clients see God working through us and know we are Christians by our walk, by our talk, by our grace, and by our love. Our hope is they will see something ‘different’ about us and spark their curiosity in our faith.”
Lisa and Rebecca have found purpose in their leadership and great hopes for the future of their group.
“Our goal for our small group is that we continue to grow deeper in our relationships with one another, develop stronger and meaningful connections, and continue to ‘live life together,’” Lisa shares.
“God has used this community to influence my faith and show His love for me. It’s had a huge impact on my life and I want others to be able to experience that as well,” Rebecca enthuses. “I’m all in!”
Written by Terry Schmidt